As the state government withdrew its scheduled lockdown for 12 September, the administration in Siliguri is all set to facilitate thousands of NEET candidates for the exam that will be held in Siliguri on 13 September. The National Testing Agency (NTA) is conducting the NEET exams across the country amid the Covid-19 pandemic following a Supreme Court order.

While the government had announced a lockdown on 11 and 12 September in its bid to slow the Covid infection rate, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today announced withdrawal of the same for 12 September, in view of the NEET.

Siliguri Sub Divisional officer Sumant Sahay today held a meeting with the Coordinator of Exams on behalf of the NTA and officials of departments, including the Siliguri metropolitan police, traffic police, health, electricity, and regional transport so that NEET candidates do not face any problem reaching their exam venues.

City Coordinator for all special exams like the JEE (Mains) and NEET, Dr SS Agarwal has requested the administration to ensure active presence of the police on the centres up to 10 pm, until collection of answer sheets.

According to Dr Agarwal, who is also the Principal of the Siliguri Model High School (Sr Secondary), a total of 9276 aspirants are scheduled to appear in the exams in 25 centres in Siliguri.

Students and their parents, who live in other states and districts that are more than 100 km away from Siliguri, had expressed concerns about the exam date and the lockdown, while they had planned to reach Siliguri on 10 September itself.

“Considering the NEET 2020 examination scheduled for 13 September, we have received numerous requests from the student community on lifting the lockdown on 12 September, helping ease their travel to examination centres,” Miss Banerjee tweeted, adding, “Keeping their interests in mind, while keeping the statewide lockdown as it is on 11 September, it has been decided to cancel the lockdown on 12 September, so that the students can attend the examination on 13 September without any apprehensions or concern.”

Students, parents and others from various quarters, including the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) North Bengal Zonal Council, had requested the Chief Minister to withdraw the lockdown.

“The CII is thankful to the state government for showing its respect to the common people’s sentiment. We are thankful that the Chief Minister has kept our request to withdraw or reschedule the lockdown in the state on 11 & 12 September. It will help the students concentrate on their studies and also help the tourism industry to restart operations well before the big festival. CII proved it again that we are working purely for the development of the industry as well as for the society,” said Sanjit Saha, the Chairman, CII, North Bengal. The NEET will held from 2 pm to 5 pm, but candidates have been asked to enter the exam premises at a particular time for registration and to maintain health protocols. Students will start entering the exam premises at 11 am following announcement from the exam centre, officials said.

“Besides drinking water, NTA will also provide biscuits to the candidates,” sources said.